More than 1,500 Palestinian children have died at the hands of Israeli forces since 2000, the Palestinian Authority’s minister of social affairs, Kamal Sharafi, said Saturday, on Palestinian Children’s Day.
In addition to the 1,520 children that have been killed, another 6,000 have been injured and more than 10,000 arrested, Palestinian news agency Ma’an quoted Sharafi as saying. Two-hundred children are still in detention in Israeli prisons.
“Protecting and supporting children should be a national responsibility,” Sharafi said, urging the Palestinian Authority to approve a law for the protection of minors.
The international community has criticized Israel for the mistreatment of Palestinian minors. In March 2013, a United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) report concluded that Palestinian children detained by the Israeli military in the West Bank are “systematically” ill-treated, which is a violation of international law.
Each year, some 700 Palestinian children aged 12 to 17 – mainly boys – are arrested, interrogated, and detained by Israel’s army, police, and security agents, UNICEF said in the 22-page document.
According to the report, the ill-treatment often begins at the point of arrest, when children are woken by heavily-armed soldiers and forcibly brought to an interrogation center “tied and blindfolded, sleep-deprived and in a state of extreme fear.”
In June 2013, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) issued a report stating that thousands of Palestinian children were systematically injured, tortured, and used as human shields by Israel.
During the 10-year period examined by UN human rights experts, up to 7,000 children aged 9 to 17 were arrested, interrogated and kept captive, CRC said in the report.